Review: Gescha – Crayon Politics

Crayon Politics
N E Kind Entertainment

Because the hip-hop industry is dominated by mainstream artists, it’s hard for underdogs like Gescha to shine. This Saskatoon-based rapper invites the listener to dive in and learn more about his life in his 13-track debut album, Crayon Politics. On this album, produced by Factor and Muneshine, Gescha collaborated with many artists including Moka Only, Kay the Aquanaut, and Tom Pickett. The name of the album derives from Gescha’s comparison of crayons with his life. Like crayons that constitute a wide spectrum of colours from light to dark, Gescha’s life has contained a range of emotions and stories that are both bright and gloomy.  In an interview with Hip-Hop Canada, Gescha expressed that the album is, “a representation of life in all its colours”. 

Gescha is not a rookie to the genre of hip-hop music; since high school he has been a member of the rap crew The Intelligentlemen and released an album with them. However, the tracks on Gescha’s debut album slightly differ from the more straight-laced and decidedly un-experimental songs he produced with The Intelligentlemen. Crayon Politics is an album that maintains the traditional elements of hip-hop music, which include repetitive drum beats and clever rap lyrics. But with the inclusion of jazz instruments such as the saxophone and the guitar, it is evident that this is an alternative hip-hop album. This creates a unique blend of songs infused with catchy and meaningful lyrics. His lead single off the album, “Love Pirates,” displays his lyrical prowess and ability to experiment musically as it has an upbeat tempo and breaks the boundaries of reality – presenting himself as a love pirate sailing away.

Throughout the album, Gescha progresses to more meaningful songs that express the serious aspects of his life. One of them is the song “Breathe.” It begins with the chorus: “They come to take our hopes / They come to make us alone / And cause our lives to suffocate / Just breathe”. Gescha tries to motivate people with these lyrics by advising them to take a moment to breathe and push through in dismal times.

In the title track, Gescha reveals more about himself. Above a soulful beat with an R & B and jazz chorus, he includes a line about a fourteen year-old boy facing charges in court. Gescha was in danger of being in this position earlier on in his life, because he was previously involved with drugs. Now, Gescha mentors at risk youth to prevent them from making wrong decisions. He further notes in this song that his “identity will never face a crisis.” referencing his accomplishment of balancing between being born in Canada and coming from an immigrant family. He ends his album on a positive note with the song “Sunshine,” focusing on hope and how it can exist for people who participate in destructive behaviour.

Hip-hop music is based on the conviction to express one’s self, or deep political views, through music – Gescha follows this tradition. As if writing in his personal diary, Gescha is not afraid to give full disclosure on his life. His music flows naturally because it is inspired by his experiences. With soulful harmonies and meaningful messages, Gescha successfully tells his story to his audience. In a time when unnecessary fiction and ideas of the sublime are rampant, Gescha’s music can be appreciated as he makes an attempt to comprehend reality and express the issues and concerns of his community.

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